#1
Hi everybody, i'm new to the forum! I recently bought a steinberg ur22 soundcard and an at2020 audiotechnica mic, in the video below i tried to acquire the best sound possible from my nylon string guitar mixing the audiotechnica with a piezo pickup on the bridge. Bit of EQ-ing on the piezo sound and little reverb added. The mic sound is raw, no eq-ing whatsoever.. It is placed ~40cm far from the fretboard, slightly off the soundhole (~15cm) and directed to the fretboard itself..

Any tip on recording acoustic instruments?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hMy7WwPUaU

Thank you!
Last edited by caardo at Sep 9, 2013,
#2
It seems to me that you pretty much got that - you managed to get the sound of the guitar as it is, which is pretty awesome.

If you want a natural sound you have it, now you can just try a different balancing between the microphone and the pickup, try adding reverb to all of your signal instead of just to the pickup's, try different microphone placements (I personally like it in front of the 12th fret, pointing a bit towards the hole and just far enough for the guitar to be comfortable when played) and see what you like best, since in the end there's no actual better way.

Nice song, by the way
Name's Luca.

Quote by OliOsbourne
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Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
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#3
Thank you very much! I'm going to try that configuration asap!! Glad you liked the song ! By the way, the piezo pickup gives a punchy fat bottom sound and completes the accuracy of the mic very well! (That was a feaking suprise btw!!)
Question: the output level raises the top (clip) but the volume of the mixdown is very very low compared to every else mp3 i got.. What can i do? Do i have to add some compression and raise it from the DAW or what????
#4
As a general rule, you should compress your tracks as much as you like.

I like to compress synths a lot and drums just a little when doing electronic stuff,
but somebody could say the exact opposite.

A bit of compression usually helps but is not always necessary, so again, do that as you like the sound best.

A lot of songs are so loud because of compression but also because they fill every damn frequency band possible, so the fullier sound gives an impression of more loudness.

To achieve that you could try working a bit with the eq, but remember that the more you tweak with that stuff, the less your sound is likely to sound natural.

Also, beware of the fact that you may be clipping because of the level of just a certain frequency, say 100hz, which you may find hard to hear because it's 100hz, and you may have picked up by pointing your microphone at the soundhole.

Your everyday EQ also usually has a spectrum analyzer so use that to find what's going on with your sound and try to correct it with your EQ or multi-band compressor (which is usually very helpful if you are working with a little number of tracks and/or you wanna make something sound full) if you can.

Last thing, as long as it sounds good, it's no problem having a quiet recording.
In fact, for the most part dynamics are better that loudness, so get the first before the second, and get the second just if you can do that without sacrificing the first.
Name's Luca.

Quote by OliOsbourne
I don't know anything about this topic, but I just clicked on this thread because of your username :O
Quote by Cajundaddy
Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
Quote by chrismendiola
I guess spambots are now capable of reading minds.
#5
Quote by caardo
Thank you very much! I'm going to try that configuration asap!! Glad you liked the song ! By the way, the piezo pickup gives a punchy fat bottom sound and completes the accuracy of the mic very well! (That was a feaking suprise btw!!)
Question: the output level raises the top (clip) but the volume of the mixdown is very very low compared to every else mp3 i got.. What can i do? Do i have to add some compression and raise it from the DAW or what????

Even after normalizing it?
Compression will definitely make it louder, but:

Quote by Spambot_2

Also, beware of the fact that you may be clipping because of the level of just a certain frequency, say 100hz, which you may find hard to hear because it's 100hz, and you may have picked up by pointing your microphone at the soundhole.

Your everyday EQ also usually has a spectrum analyzer so use that to find what's going on with your sound and try to correct it with your EQ or multi-band compressor (which is usually very helpful if you are working with a little number of tracks and/or you wanna make something sound full) if you can.

Like he said, it could mostly be coming from one frequency. That's what mixing is for; finding unused (or unpleasant) frequencies that are taking up dynamic room, and weeding them out.

Quote by Spambot_2

Last thing, as long as it sounds good, it's no problem having a quiet recording.
In fact, for the most part dynamics are better that loudness, so get the first before the second, and get the second just if you can do that without sacrificing the first.

I'd take issue with this. Some instruments just don't need as much dynamic room as others. If you're recording vocals, do you want them constantly shifting between annoyingly loud and getting drowned in the mix?

Still, this isn't "Wonderwall". There are dynamics you might want to capture. But some light compression, or maybe a bit of limiting to soften the attack, will make them more consistent, without brickwalling it.

Great piece and playing, by the way.
#6
I tried to normalize it, (i'm so noob that i forgot to do it.. ), it is slightly louder but it clips somewhere on the highest peaks of the soundwave, after a manual adjust is still louder than before so thanks a million for that..
The image attached shows how the spectrum looks like in the entire song, am i right if i say that there are no unhearable frequencies causing the level to clip? (Sorry if the question is extremely idiotic but i'm very new to recording!)

And btw thanks you all for your time and your long and exausting answers!
Attachments:
Spectr.jpg
#7
We humans can hear things between more or less 20 and 20k Hz, but you probably won't notice if there was a lack in the 30-40Hz band.

That analyzer is really not enough to say that you could cut out some frequencies for they aren't heard because the resolution isn't high enough where "it matters".

http://www.independentrecording.net/irn/resources/freqchart/main_display.htm

That is a pretty nice chart that can help you if you're not experienced.
It basically shows what frequencies are produced by what instruments, what are the most important and distinguishing ones and so on.

You can try to lower the frequency peaks and see if it still sounds good, maybe with the help of that chart, or you can post a picture of a spectrum analysis with more precision in the 20 to 10k Hz, or even more specifically between 20 and 5k Hz - where you have the higher levels.
Name's Luca.

Quote by OliOsbourne
I don't know anything about this topic, but I just clicked on this thread because of your username :O
Quote by Cajundaddy
Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
Quote by chrismendiola
I guess spambots are now capable of reading minds.
#9
Sorry for the delay but i wasn't at home recently! This is how the frequency analysis in log scale looks throughout the recording! To my inexperienced eyes it looks as all the caracteristic frequencies of the guitar as an instrument are filled properly, am i right or not? is there a way to know if there are unnecessary frequencies (inearable or useless in a guitar recording)?
Attachments:
Spectr_log.jpg
#10
Nothing is really useless here!

You could cut the stuff below 80Hz since you probably hear it just a little.

At this point, try to see how it sounds to put an eq (before the compressor) lowering say everything from 1Hz to 2kHz by 10dB.

If it still sounds natural, or anyway you like how it sounds, keep it that way and raise the gain on the compressor.

You may find that it doesn't sound good at all, so add a more powerfull compression or leave it as it is - which is pretty good actually.
Name's Luca.

Quote by OliOsbourne
I don't know anything about this topic, but I just clicked on this thread because of your username :O
Quote by Cajundaddy
Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
Quote by chrismendiola
I guess spambots are now capable of reading minds.
#11
My two cents....

This is a release quality recording. Period. It sort of blows my mind that you achieved it with entry-level gear and by pointing the mic at the sound hole. Conventionally, pointing the mic at the sound hole results in boominess, but the log graph does not show boominess, and my ears aren't hearing boominess.

With classical guitar, the last thing you want to do is to compress the bloody hell out of it and make it as loud as as a pop record. Screw that. It's a classical guitar. Don't mess too much with it, or it will sound funny.

Maybe compress it a little... no more than 2:1 kind of thing and some gentle peak limiting, but geez.... It's not a Miley Cyrus vocal track. Part of the beauty of the classical guitar - especially when it is well played - is the dynamics.

Compare it to other pro recordings by the greats.

Andres Segovia - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBQfHJA2Lng
John Williams - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfRLMopjDKA
Julian Bream - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spUT-2tU2Yk

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#12
pointing the mic at the sound hole.


I must be a complete idiot, i meant fretboard in the first post, i fust repeated the word soundhole! That's maybe why the track recorded isn't boomy at all! I was shocked to by the quality of the recording.. The pick-up is specifically designed for a classical guitar, it picks up low and mid frequencies very well, i tested it just yesterday on the stage during a concert. Blending it with the mic sound gave a excellent result..!

You could cut the stuff below 80Hz since you probably hear it just a little.

At this point, try to see how it sounds to put an eq (before the compressor) lowering say everything from 1Hz to 2kHz by 10dB.


I tried all of that, it doesn't really make a huge difference in the sound of the guitar, i could raise a bit the gain so thanks for that!
#13
Quote by caardo
I must be a complete idiot, i meant fretboard in the first post, i fust repeated the word soundhole! That's maybe why the track recorded isn't boomy at all!


Proof that you CAN make very good recordings with entry-level gear if you do it right.

Yeah, fretboard is where it should be - around the 12th fret or thereabouts.

Conventionally. There is no ONE way to do it.

What kind of guitar is it? A good instrument will sound better recorded with entry-level gear than a crappy instrument recorded with pro gear.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#14

What kind of guitar is it? A good instrument will sound better recorded with entry-level gear than a crappy instrument recorded with pro gear.


It's an Alhambra 2C, ~500$ in the US, ~250€ in Italy where i live.. Reasonably cheap guitar, solid spruce top (not the best quality though..) laminated mahogany back and sides.. It has a very nice tone because i played it a lot, the wood has developed a nice response to the strings vibrations! I re-stringed the guitar just before the video was shot..
#15
Well, it sounds really good!

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.